Sunday, 1 December 2013

Prickly Personality? It Doesn't End Well...

Big Puffer Fish Washed Up on Beach in Costa Rica

You meet some interesting characters on the road of life.  Some amazing people who you think you should be more like, others who have the uncanny ability to make you laugh at the most mundane situations, and those people that you try really hard to avoid because their personality leaves you feeling..."ouch!"  I have a secret that I'm going to share about this last type - but you have to read to the end to get it!  (Don't think I'm being prickly - I promise I'm not!)

Picture this: A sunrise teasing the grey sky with hints of orange and red, warm sand squishing between your toes, the surf kissing your ankles with it's foamy edge.  The quiet peace of a morning that started before the sun rose in it's full splendour.  It really sets the scene for some actual romance (I say actual because at home surrounded by real life - actual romance can be hard to make really magical - which is way easier at an exotic location like Costa Rica) - I'm sure you would agree. 

While the water noisily flushed over my ankles we noticed some shapes in the sand ahead, as the sun was lighting the beach aglow.  Hmmm....we saw puffer fishes.  Big ones.  Dead ones...but big.  I have never seen one up close before and was, to be frank, creeped out by them!  Suddenly that lovely water that cleaned the sand from my feet every few seconds freaked me out.  Imagining those creature alive (or dead!) bobbing around my ankles was not a thought that kept with the theme of romance.  We moved a bit further from the edge and saw body after body of these (Poor? Not sure I'd use that description - but still - it was sad they were dead!) things. 

But here is the part that I found morbidly fascinating; up ahead a giant black vulture was eating these critters on his own private sandy smorgasbord!  The circle of life is even more amazing in places of unfamiliar territory! Check out the picture below we snapped....  

I started thinking about the prickly people in my life - past and present.  I keep a distance, because the alternative is - well - OUCH!  But among the thorns that exist in people, there is an inherent weakness.  You see, like all versions of armour, there is a weak point.  A vulnerability that exists in all of us.  In the beached puffer fish - it was it's death.  In people, it's just being human!  It doesn't end well if you're not nice.  Now, you won't get gobbled up by a vulture (unless of course you take a trip out to a desert with no water...and you pass out from heat...and then die...then you may turn out to be lunch for a very unattractive large bird) but just being yourself will eventually not end well.  The weakness is people will eventually see you for who you really are.  If that version of yourself ain't (yep - I said ain't - whatcha gonna do about it?!) pretty - you're done for!
So here's the thing - if you have the intention of being a good person - DO IT!!  Take action, folks!!  Listen more, let people tell their stories, talk less, share what you have generously, like everyone (or at least try to!), smile at strangers, lend a hand when one is needed, and just be nice.  I don't want any of my readers to end up like that spiky sea creature.  I shudder at the thought!

I can't believe it but...I have puffer fish in my blog!!

Happy being good!
Kathy Pettit

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Canned Meat...What is Happening at my House?!

You know I love you - because this tidbit about what I served my family should be completely (and understandably) top secret!  I have an overall disdain for canned, processed meat - with the exception of an occasional can of tuna.  The thought of a gelatinous blob of meat, where you can't be certain of the origins or even prove that it's the critter it states on the label, normally keeps me far away from the stuff.  But I was intrigued by the concept of pulled pork, looking like it had been simmering all the day long.

I spent about $11 on the can...and when I got home I opened it with an underlying sense of doom.  What sort of protein would be bobbing around in the huge can - and more importantly would it make me wretch in disgust?  I peeked inside and found broth with a whole roast inside.  The ingredients were all natural - with no MSG or artificial ingredients - which is a good thing!  Using monster tongs, I pulled it out and slid the lump into my stovetop dutch oven and inspected it.  The chunk looked like a pork roast, smelled like a pork roast...but I was still highly suspicious.  I grabbed two forks and prodded at it, and to my surprise it pulled apart - just like the roast I make from scratch.  (I say 'just like' - but you know what I mean!).  I shredded it and poured in our favourite bottled sauce - seen in the pic above - and simmered it on low for about 15 minutes until Hubby walked through the door.  It smelled good, so I hid the can - wondering if he would notice.

In he walked, fresh crusty buns in hand, commenting on the yummy smell permeating the main floor.  Trying to act natural, I double checked the can was well-hidden and ushered him into the dining room along with our three hooligans.  Before serving I nervously tried a small was good!  Like really good!  I could not tell that I was eating canned meat at all!

After he finished polishing off two buns slopped with heaping mounds of BBQ-y pulled pork, I dragged him into the kitchen to show him the can.  He was surprised...but admitted it was good.

So - I'm putting a few cans in my pantry for those times when I need to whip up a quick meal for an unexpected crowd.  And I would hazard a guess that they'll never know what hit 'em!  Unless of course they read my blog!  If they have no idea then the truth about who reads my blog will become glaringly obvious :) 

I can't believe it but...I actually ate canned meat and lived to tell the tale!

Happy Canned-Meat Eating!

Kathy Pettit

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Kindly Refrain From Getting Lost

Are you lost?  Don't be.  Step forward, straighten up those lovely shoulders and BE who you are.  Finding yourself is way overrated!  Creating yourself, however, is way more fun - and less stressful!  I mean, what if you kept looking for your little old self aimlessly and never, ever found it?  The last thing you want is to be sitting in your rocker, your white hair gleaming in the sun, shaking your fist at the air regretting you never found you.  (Psst....I've got a secret little old self in rocker - I found you - you're in the rocker!  Revel in being you!) 

We all work hard to carve out a small niche in this world that we can lay claim to do.  We do it with the people we surround ourselves with, the home we warm with our presence, and the difference we make in the lives of those around us.  I'm no artist - but to think of the possibilities available through CREATING myself kinda makes me excited.  I mean I could be really great.  Not just regular great.  REALLY great!  And I hate being lost.  I have no sense of direction (DD and hubby - no giggling!) and have a tendency to get muddled quite easily.  If I tried to go "and find myself" I could be gone for a very long time!!  Finding myself sounds like way more work than just creating me. 

Now, read this next part in a whispery voice in your head so as not to alert the 'establishment' (I have no idea what people are referring to when they talk about the 'establishment - but it sounds impressive!): I may say I am going to find myself...because I need some peace and quiet.  It's a lie.  But I flash my creative licensing card to take full advantage.  AND if I get 'lost' on the way - you can rest assured it was at cozy coffee joint or at a small bistro serving crisp glasses of white wine (maybe with a good friend).  But that kind of lost just helps the creative process along.  It takes time to make a masterpiece!

Love yourself, friends.  You are each a work of art.

I can't believe it but...I hope I haven't alerted the 'establishment'! 

Happy creating,

Kathy Pettit :)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A Place for Everything...and Everything Not in its Place

I'd like to start by pointing out (much to the dismay of myself and hubby) that this is NOT an image of our woodpile.  This is like a work of art, not like the lumpy, clumpy jumble that we have stacked for the impending cold weather. 

But when I saw this image it got me thinking about order and the lack of it that seems to have invaded my cupboards, storage areas and my life in general.  It snuck in like an autumn leaf on the bottom of an unsuspecting shoe.  My sense of order has been infected with a lack of time, resources and (if I'm completely honest) shortage of good old-fashioned gumption! 

My linen closet has become an incestuous mix of towels AND bedding on the same shelves (oh!  The shame and horror!), our garage looks much like a before ad on a Canadian Tire commercial, and my normally well-organized Christmas storage room (yes, that is another blog for another day - I have a storage room devoted entirely to the Christmas season...everyone has a weakness - right?!) looks like a preview for the show Hoarders!  Which I'm not (with that one sticky exception of Christmas decorations...)!

When we had a smaller house - we were forced to keep ourselves organized.  Bigger house = more room for the accumulation of junk (minus the Christmas decorations - definitely not junk!) and more room to spread ourselves out.  This growth - combined with having our third hooligan child - is a recipe for chaos.  I had a discussion with my boss about how much life changes when the kids outnumber the parents.  My Martha Stewart died when Coconut came along...she shriveled up like a California Raisin.  I'm okay with that - because the truth is I don't really need to have crafts cluttering my space.  What I'm not okay with is the crazy way I have forgotten my neurotic organizing behaviour.  It disappeared.  And that darned behaviour took away my time when it ran away.

So if you happen to stop by and notice the scattered way I have piled up my serving bowls or you go to grab a towel and end up with a fitted sheet - don't judge.  Rather, offer to babysit my perfect angels which would give me the opportunity to have some "free" time to re-organize! 

A long weekend is fast-approaching - maybe I'll squeeze in some re-organizing time.  Or not....

I can't believe it but...I gave you peak inside my linen closet!

Kathy Pettit


Monday, 2 September 2013

Writing a Book is Like Building a Fence

Weird title.  I know.  But because recently I finished the second draft of my novel, and I ALSO just finished building a fence, I couldn't help but notice a few similarities between the two!   Yeah, yeah - I have an odd way of correlating random things - I know...

Firstly, the words and characters in my story lay in a jumbled heap in the centre of my tiny brain - not unlike the pile of wood delivered to my driveway.  The letters of said words begged to be woven into a tale that thrilled and enticed the reader - but it required thought, time and energy to make that happen.  There were no shortcuts or quick fixes...just ideas that had to be laid out in a specific way that made sense. A dose of patience and advice from friends and family who read my scribing came in handy, because it is difficult to be truly objective with your own work.

The fence also required some planning and measuring...and hard, sweaty work!  Luckily for us we have friends and family that are really handy and smart and awesome and reliable and freakin' cool (okay - going overboard - but they did a lot!!) so it made the task easier to accomplish!  While hubby and I knew what we wanted, we also are smart enough to know we needed serious help.   

Which brings me back to my story...having actually completed my book (hooray!!!) I entered the first few chapters into a large writers contest, assuming I wouldn't win (but, let's be honest - hoping!) but rather looking for some feedback that wasn't from people that would feel awkward being completely honest with me.  I know I can't do it alone - just like building the fence, I need help building a solid piece of writing.  Extra eyes finding potential errors, advice from experts that know what they're talking about - I'm not above asking for help!  I know my limitations and humble enough to admit them and to listen to other people's advice.  In fact, I truly appreciate it! 

Imagining what our fence would look like without the expertise of others causes me to giggle at the potential outcomes that could have been.  Thank God for my friends and family!  I also have to thank the judges who read my entry.  My report card included some very good ideas for getting my book ready for the publishing world.  Ideas that will really elevate my story to the next level.  (For those wondering - my scores were 70, 73 and 74% - which makes me feel like I am totally on the right track!)

So, layin' it out - I'm not perfect.  I know it.  I appreciate constructive criticism and suggestions that can help me better whatever it is I am working on.  Whether it is a fence, my novel, or a recipe that needs a little oomph - planning, friends, family and an open mind - will help me make it a success!

I can't believe it but...I'm like a sponge absorbing everyone else's expertise.  One day I may even be an expert at something!  (Now that's a funny thought!)

Happy building whatever the heck you're working on :)

Kathy Pettit

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Distract the Guards – I’ll Book Us out of Here!

Costa Rican Sunrise, taken July 16, 2013
Raising three homemade monsters is, well, mind-numbing.  Don’t get me wrong – we love them dearly – and, well, go ahead and judge – we needed an escape from them!  Hubby has lost more than a few hairs from their antics and unfortunately, the occasional (ahem, okay, okay – I’ll be honest with you folks – the frequent) grey hair has made an unwelcomed appearance on my head.  The two of us looked forward to some uninterrupted time to look deep into each other’s eyes, and make wild, passionate love like we did when we were younger (apology to my family for flinging open the bedroom door without warning!).  And then, 10 minutes later (all me – no reflection on Peter!), we eagerly anticipated a shallow conversation about absolutely nothing without the presence of burps, farts, interjections about Barbie or Iron man or whining about a misbehaving sibling. 

So we planned a jailbreak and roped in some family with assurances that our kids are lovely, perfect and never a problem to keep guard of our most precious (and obnoxious) possessions.  The plan worked.  I wrote out the game plan in sidewalk chalk on the driveway of how it would work and we conned our captors (Peach, Pickle and Coconut) to give us a leave out of our asylum for 7 days on good behavior.

We like adventure – and good weather, yummy food, nice people, and beautiful surroundings – not too demanding, eh?!  There was only one answer to our quest – Costa Rica!  Lush green mountains, interesting wildlife, and the opportunity to do some really amazing things sold us. 

So we hugged our critters and left them in the care of people who love them very much…and we boarded a plane headed for paradise.  Details will follow, but know this – it was worth the tears spilled over missing their interruptions, their farts, burps and their request for a referee.  I cherished every moment with hubby – having real conversations like we used to, holding hands, laughing at the cast of characters we met along the way.  But the momma part of me still missed the pieces of her that lived, breathed and existed without her being near.  But for hubby and I – it was a blessed recharge to a busy life. 

I can’t believe it but…we had a jailbreak (cue AC/DC) and voluntarily returned!

Happy recharging your batteries,

Kathy Pettit

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

And Then There Were None!

Baby Spiders In My Garden

It was an exciting day in our backyard a few weeks ago when Coconut discovered the egg sac we had been watching had hatched!  He came racing into the house, telling me to get my camera and dragging me outside to see our babies.  They were...well...beautiful, in their own way.  Tiny little yellow creatures, with no mother to guide them and only each other for comfort.  If you breathed too hard they scattered easily.  So Coconut and I had to be very gentle in our movements to investigate the brood.  We had our magnifying glasses out, inspecting each minuscule arachnid with care. 

Repeatedly we would check on them, watching them curiously.  Near dark, they would gather themselves up into a tight sphere of yellow bodies.  I assume it was for warmth, which, in a weird way, I found touching.  We took numerous photos - and tried to count them without much success. 

But, as Coconut quickly noticed, with each passing day their numbers dwindled.  Trying not to cry (because really - you can't help but think of Charlotte's Web - and if that story doesn't make you tear up - it is possible you are a psychopath - look into that, will ya?) I explained how the wind blows them gently to their new homes.  There just is not enough room or food for all of those spiders between the Peony bush and the Purple Columbine.  So they had to go and make their way in the big, wide world.  Leave their siblings and warm webby home - and make their own.  He got it, but I had to discourage his six year old scientist side to 'save' them by letting them live in a container. 

Years ago, before I had kids, I was terrified of bugs and spiders.  But the fear came from a lack of understanding.  I started watching them closely - and realized they are not out to get me - they're just trying to scrape by and live like the rest of us.  They are actually quite interesting.  Plus - spiders clean up pesky bugs from the backyard.  I like that.  So in our house, when we see a spider, instead of squelching it under a newspaper, we rescue it.  We scoop it up, and plop it into a new home - our garden.  A whole other world exists in our great outdoors.  Lives are lost, there is mating, babies are born, they move, they hunt - eat, destroy - just like humans (but with more legs). 

Check out your garden, and read Charlotte's Web - and shed a tear so you can rest assured that you won't become the next CNN profile story about serial killers.  If your kid doesn't cry...well...gulp...sleep with one eye open!

I can't believe it but...I blogged about spiders!

Happy exploring,

Kathy Pettit

Thursday, 27 June 2013

...And I Got a Cleavage Full of Gnats

This spring I have started biking to hold the 'oh-my-gosh-I'll-be-40-in-4-years!' at bay.  I do not want a saggy, pancake bottom.  Nor do I relish one day looking into the mirror and seeing the 'ladies' getting tucked into the waistband of my pants.  The list of issues for women when it comes to the ravages of time and gravity are endless, so I'll stop there - but I am fighting them every step of the way!

So, the last time I was on a bike was when I was in university.  I was nervous - I wondered, "Is riding bike - just like riding a bike?"  To be perfectly frank, I was worried I couldn't do it.  The great news is I am doing it - and I love it.  We started with 10km, and have built our way up to 20km - with a end of summer goal of 40km.  (Lofty, but I like a challenge!) 

Now, SW and I do the country roads, whizzing by farms and fields, trying not to get knocked over by the swoosh of big rigs.  And the muscle burn feels good.  There are days, however, that have their complications.  Take for instance - manure spreading time.  When you're sucking wind and desperate for oxygen, and the only air available is laden with the rich, uncomfortable flavour of cow dung - well, that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  Literally AND figuratively!  There is also the inevitable pain in your lady bits.  Invest in a good seat (like the Cadillac of seats!).  Tonight it was the attack of the gnats.  Swarms of gnats flying into your eyes, onto your arms, and for me - right into my cleavage.  (Truthfully, I gotta think that is a great way for them to die - but maybe I'm biased ;)) When I got home and peeled off my tank, there they were.  My ta-tas may have been responsible for the annihilation of entire families of gnats, for all I know.  There were a lot

I had my hot shower, and washed the tiny carcasses away, feeling a teency bit guilty about the death of living creatures - no matter how insignificant they may seem.

I can't believe it but...riding a bike IS just like riding a bike!

Happy Cycling,

Kathy Pettit :)   

Monday, 10 June 2013

Farewell Faithful Friend

Rest In Peace,  Zoey,  June 7, 2013  Loved and Loved
Zoey was a rescue, from The Catahoula Rescue.  Puppies are cute - but they are tons of work!  Rescue dogs usually have basic training, and are simply looking for their forever home.  Reasons vary, marriages split up and the dog is a burden, people get bored, financial situations change, people die - whatever the reason - there are lots of dogs that need homes.  Puppies are an easy sell - but dogs require you to open your mind and just LOVE them. 
Back to our Zoey...firstly, she was a pleasure to be around.  We all have our faults, and some of hers may have been more pronounced than ones in other friends (furry or otherwise) – but the reality is, she truly was a blessing in all the lives that she touched, sniffed and licked. 

Zoey was loud.  She snored, sneezed and barked loudly.  These habits, I am quite certain, had mischievous ulterior motives…to get us up and moving, to spend quality time with her, or reward her with some tasty treat.  She ate like a vacuum, and was excellent at keeping our floor clean of the crumbs that tend fall from the mouths of our babes!  She was also very effective at cleaning runny noses – a job which makes me cringe – so for that I was grateful (and, to be perfectly honest, grossed out).  She was always in a good mood, always ready to hang out, play, be a silent partner – or an active, vocal one.  She had energy to spare – and even put her kids to shame.  When I think of loyalty – I can say she exuded that valuable (and rare) trait.  She loved her friends – and her family more than we will ever know.  Zoey was patient, kind and kept us laughing.  She had enough naughty in her that time-outs occurred (just like a child!) – in which she was relegated to the outdoors, or an area of the house that kept her trouble-making ways contained.  She was a great accepter of hugs, kisses and funny poems – and took it all in stride - with just the right cocking of her head to make it seem like she could understand every word that was recited to her.  Her soulful eyes were always peaceful and warm.  It was impossible to be lonely when she was around.  And she was tough!  Even though she suffered from a disability – she was fiercely protective of the occupants of our house – whether it be human intruder or another sort – she kept us all safe.  She was our beacon of joy and safety.  Any kid that entered our house was family, and when she found them on the street again – she shepherded them in her little flock and kept them orderly, so as to not lose one. 

I despise that I am using the past tense, because, our four-legged-squirrel-chaser, passed away  on Friday night.  Funny how dogs fit so well into our lives, that you speak to them (and of them) like they are human. Zoey's death was sudden, and caused buckets of tears from our entire house, from our friends, and much sadness in our other rescue dog, Riley.  It happened so quickly, but as she was rescued and adopted into our house with love three years ago, when she left her furry, grey and black dappled body on Friday, she left it being loved all the more for what she brought to our little family.  We were lovingly petting her and whispering words of love as she passed, in her own home, in her own bed.  And when that lively spark fled those pretty brown eyes, we closed them for good so we could let her have eternal rest. 

She was a blessing – and I hope for any of you that may have  been blessed with a swat from a big paw, looking to be pet and loved – you oblige.  Because you never know when that exchange of love will be the last.  Thank you all for reading about our Zo-Zo…I believe a memory shared is a flower bloomed in a garden, somewhere.

I can't believe it but...we have lost a little piece of our heart...but I know we'll be okay.

Happy Memories,
Kathy Pettit


Sunday, 2 June 2013

I Did it...But Was 'It' Good Enough?!

For those few that have been following my journey, I have done it!

With the encouragement of friends, family and a little motivation from the occasional (cough) bottle glass of wine and the copious consumption of my kryptonite (which happens to chocolate!) - I submitted a book for The Catherine Literary Contest with the Romance Writer Association of America!  It was approved, as they were only accepting a selected number of entries - which is the first step in the right direction. 

How did this all start?  Well, I have a fantasy novel mapped out, of which I have about 400 hand-written pages I completed in 2007.  Earlier this year I decided it was high time to get it 'officially' started.  27,000 words of it have been weaved into the fiction novel, with a heck of a lot more to go.  But, I stopped work on it - just temporarily - as I felt the pull towards the romance genre.  I blame my friend (D.D.D. - totally referring to you!), who is currently in final edit stages of her own romance book, who got me thinking more about the romance scene.  Coincidentally, after chatting with her, I had a dream about a farmer named Noah (it's okay - it was only a dream)...and from that moment the character began taking on a life of his own.  I couldn't stop writing his story.  I am addicted, and it has become a focus of every spare minute I have (which to be honest - does not equal a lot of minutes!).  However, I have been able to write about 57,000 words of my novel in about three short months - and I am finishing up the ending in the next few weeks.  My submission to The Catherine was only 7500 words, which includes my synopsis - so I cross every body part that I can that the 'hook' is strong enough to get the authors, agents and publishers that judge the work to WANT to read more!  And I have to take the time to thank my hubby, colleagues, and friends for their feedback/editing on the preliminary edition of my novel.  Every single one of you that touched the story - I appreciate it immensely!

It is interesting creating these characters from scratch - their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses...figuring out what makes them tick.  Being a female and writing the role of that 'perfect' man, has it's challenges.  As hubby edited the 7500 words, he would look up at me, his eyebrows raised, a smile teasing the corner of his mouth, working his red pen across the pages.  I would smile back, wondering to myself what will happen down the road when he eventually gets to the juicy bits??!!  In reading and writing these kind of books, are we setting ourselves up to be eternally disappointed with the actual males we come across?  Do we set those expectations so high that it is an impossibly difficult target to reach?  As women, do we need to lower our romantic expectations on the poor men in our lives?  I don't know.  But sometimes, a part of me thinks that if men read those books, and acted like the good guys, they might just have the perfect (and pretty secret - as I don't know any man that reads them - YET!) formula for how to act, think and behave to get their perfect girl.  And, if they followed it, maybe, just maybe, they would have the best marriages and happiest wives on the planet!  Just a maybe for Father's Day ladies, grab your hubby a steamy romance novel and highlight the parts that matter most.  Subtle?  No...but possibly the best investment you could ever make!

I can't believe it but...I  have officially entered a manuscript and may one day fulfil a dream of becoming an author!

Happy reading,

Kathy Pettit (note: I decided to use my full name, Katherine L. Pettit as my official author name !)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

It's a Big World...Sort of

“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.”
Alan Wilson Watts

The story I am about to share, about being connected to the people around you, is 100% true.  You will probably read it and question the above statement (and possibly my integrity), and that's okay.  That's what humans do.  Question away!  But it happened in a room full of people...while my hubby teased me about thinking that the outcome that did occur...would occur.  Confused?  Read on... 
I have to back up the story here, so you can more clearly follow along.  Peach and Pickle went to a different school than they go to now, when they started their adventure in the wonderful world of education.  So we have been fortunate to meet lots of different parents and little people!  I am continually amazed by the fantastic mix of people that exist on this planet.  I love you all! 
It was Mother's Day weekend, and my hubby and his family arrived Saturday to celebrate the day.  As we were sitting around chatting, the phone rang.  It was a long distance number, so I answered it.  The German accented voice asked for a name that I didn't recognize, so I informed her kindly that she had the wrong number.  She questioned if she had reached the city I live in, and I confirmed she had.  She explained to me that someone had left a message on her answering machine and she couldn't understand the last few numbers of the phone number, so had dialled mine in error.  While this explanation is in the process, I discover I recognize her voice.  Now - she is calling from Germany - I know that - but here is where it gets weird - and I get teased.  I ask her if she has a son named Willy (this is the exact point that hubby starts rolling his eyes and joking with his family that I think I know everyone).  I can hear his laughter AT THE SAME TIME she says, "Yes."  So I laugh and reply, "Is this Seigret?" She confirms it is.  This is the point that "It's a Small World After All" starts tinkling in between my ears (because I'm weird like that)...I respond - "Seigret - it's Kathy Pettit - Peach's mom!"
At this point I am envisioning my husband choking on a mouthful of crow, as he listens to our conversation, catching each other up on what our kids are doing.  She had moved back to Germany with her family, so had left the region permanently.  We hadn't exchanged phone numbers, as we had moved to another school , and young girls being what they are, stayed more connected to the female students of their past.
So, in that small twist of fate, she had mistakenly called my house, thousands of miles away, to prove the theory that we are all a function of what the universe is doing - at any given time.  Be nice to everyone.  You never know when you'll meet them again...

I can't believe it but...I was right.  I was right.  I was right.  Sorry - don't get to relish in that statement too often - had to do a verbal 'happy dance' of sorts!

(Small personal truth, courtesy of Douglas Adams - “I'd far rather be happy than right any day.”)
On that note, be happy!
Kathy Pettit

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Juggling For Balance

Sometimes, quite literally, there are so many balls in the air – that I am certain I may drop one.  And that one ball may be the most important one in play.  There are friends, family, responsibilities (what – I have responsibilities?!)  work, kids, errands, shopping, my blog, my novels that I am writing, my dogs, my chores, my fitness routines  – I am sure you all get the drift because as you are taking the time to read this you are probably neglecting one of those balls!  (But I appreciate that you are willing to do so!) 

If I stop and ask , “Am I doing a good job?”  It would depend on perspective.  If your ball happens to be the one I dropped (sorry, man – I know it sucks!) you’d say ‘no.’  If I am exceeding your expectations, you may be thrilled with my deft abilities in the circus arena.  However, the reality is I am no performer.  I struggle to find that balance of have-to-do’s and would-like-to-do’s.  I have discovered the have-to-do’s are not as much fun as the would-like-to-do’s!  Having both needs met simultaneously would be awesome!  I would have loved to sit by (and in) my friend and neighbour’s pool (which is a fab place to be, by the way!) and bask in the sun with a chilly beverage…but alas…my have-to-do’s had piled up from the week so I was unable to partake in the glorious freedom of sitting idly by their pool and tended by a man-servant (I say this in jest, but he is quite a good bartender!) who looks remarkably like a teddy bear version of Keifer Sutherland.  Ahhh...I digress…

Balancing all my stuff is tough.  But, I’m made of tough stuff – so I muddle through with a smile – hoping I haven’t let too many people down along the way.  I keep moving, onward and upward!  That is where a little tipple of wine (or Tequila Sunrises ;D) helps blur the reminders of your have-to-do’s and focus on your would-like-to-do’s.  Here is where I give each and every reader the permission to blur those lines a bit.  Spend a wee bit of time on what you want to do.  For me, even writing this blog or working on my book is important – so here I am multi-tasking…watching Game of Thrones, doing laundry and blogging J  So please forgive any grievous errors you may take note of!  They came from a place of liking-to-do's!

I can't believe it but...I used the archaic term "I digress" in good form!

Happy balancing!
Kathy Pettit

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Friends on the Move

Pinned Image

There are some moments in our lives, that when they appear, they come with no pomp, no circumstance, and no bolt of lightening.  When they happen we may never realize how the impact of that exact moment, location and decision has changed the course of our future.  But each choice, each smile, and each time our hearts open, we change the very fabric of our future.  I am referring to the first time you meet someone that you now consider a friend.  That moment they wove their thread into your loom and life, they changed it.  A real friend adds colours and patterns, brings light where there may have been dark.  They add challenges, accomplishments, and celebrations!

I was inspired to write this post for two reasons.  The first being I have been blessed with an abundance of friends in my life - which I am eternally grateful for.  Secondly, some good friends are moving very far away, and I will miss them terribly.  We will miss their daughter immensely who is very much like family to all of us.  While I am happy for them and their new adventure, I feel a sense of loss with them leaving.  They are beautiful people, so kind and generous, and so thoughtful in everything they do!  But, I worry about them, as they head off to this new adventure.  They are Korean, and struggle with their English, but my husband and I have been there to help them when they needed an English voice behind them.  From the blind perspective of someone native to Canada and English speaking, I just assume (wrongly) that everyone is nice and patient with language barriers.  I can share, from my experience of speaking on their behalf, that this is not the case.  From their landlords, to the bank, even to the government - they were not treated as well as I would expect to be treated.  That was until I would get involved and speak for them, at their request, to help them understand.  Then suddenly the person at the bank became so friendly and willing to help, the landlord recognized it was their job to fix things that weren't working in the house, the government admitting to other options that were not shared directly with them.  So I worry, when they are so far away, that there will be no one there to step up and help them. 

They are fabulous people, and I pray that their decision to smile at a stranger and open their hearts - will result in the receiving person doing the same to them, so they can be blessed with the same friendship that I hold dear.  You never know when friendship will strike.  But always be prepared with a ready smile - just in case!  Ours started at a school playground, while waiting for our daughters to come out at the end of school - and luckily the connection sparked and bloomed into a warm, happy friendship.

I can't believe it is so easy to make friends - and so hard to make enemies - why can't we cherish all of those around us as friends?

Happy friend-finding,

Kathy Pettit :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Don't Let Your Want be a Wish!

I had a conversation last week with an old friend, and we were discussing the word “want” (obviously we either lead very boring lives to argue the finer points of a simple word - or we are such deep individuals that we see discussion where others find none!).  I voiced the opinion that I think it is an action word, where she felt it represents a feeling or desire. For instance, "I want to make lots of money", "I want to write a book",  "I want to win the lottery." So while I agree that the word can invoke desire or a feeling - I don't believe it ends there. 
Here is why I think it is an action word; If you REALLY want 'it' you will act on that want. If you don't take action, it is not truly a want, but rather more of a wish. Because if you want money, you become really successful at what you do or you may take on extra work to make lots of money. People that really want to write a book – do it – they take action. People play the lottery because they want to win it. You can’t win if you don’t play.  That last statement (I have no idea who coined it - but kudos to whomever is responsible!) is really a moniker for whatever we do, whether in our careers or our personal lives.

You can’t win if you don’t play!

If you don’t take action on whatever it is you want – you don’t deserve it. If you tried and failed (and I speak from experience here) – dust off those knees (I have actually tried so hard some of my pants have worn out knees!)  and try again! If you truly want something (I mean REALLY WANT IT!)– set the goal and take the first step and get out of your comfort zone.  Make want your action word!

I can't believe it but...I am taking action on some of my own wants.  Because I have wants - not wishes! 

Happy playing everyone! J
Kathy Pettit

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Chasing Home - Or Finding It

This week I was fortunate enough to have my application accepted to attend a curated audience for the TedxWaterloo event, held at Centre in the Square.  It was an exciting moment - and so inspiring!  The theme was Chasing Home.  It begged the questions, is home where you live now, where you're from, the building you live in - or is it the people that you are surrounded by that make home, home?  From microbial biologists, particle physicists, slam poets, paediatric oncologists, singers, the creator and deliverer of the Mars Rovers to a female handy woman - it was an awe-inspiring event!

For me, the past is not home.  It was a place that led me to where I am today, but it's not home.  My home is in the here and now.  In the walls that make up my house.  In the laughter of my kids, in the smell of coffee made by hubby, in the wagging tails of my two dogs.  It surrounds me in the friends that make me smile, in the bed where I lay, in the garden where I grow.  It fills me with love, hope, and laughter.  It grounds me when I am too excited, too sad, or too stressed.  My home is where I can kick off my high heels, slip my feet into a pair of floppy, pink slippers, and be myself.

Others may argue that home IS where they come from - especially if their parents still reside in the house where they grew up.  That symbol of home may strike the flame that warms the heart when thinking of home.  I have come to learn that home is as personal a place as the shelves of our hearts where we store the memories that made us who we are.  The microbial biologist argued that the community of bacteria and creatures that live in our gut - have a right to be there.  They WANT to be there.  It is there home.  We live in a symbiotic relationship with them - even though we can't see it.  The work they do for us is often ignored - but they are living creatures - without whom our bodies would not be in good working order.  So maybe home is where everyone or everything is kept in balanceInstead of a location, it is an existence.  An existence of having symbiotic relationships with those that think of you, when they think of home.

Try acting as if your entire community were your home.  Treating everyone within it with respect and appreciation!  Because if we all thought of home as broader-reaching and made meaningful by connections as opposed to thinking more of the walls of our physical home, we could potentially make the world a much warmer place.

I can't believe it but...TEDxWaterloo was a thrilling experience! 

Happy home-making,

Kathy Pettit :)

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Moisturizer Conspiracy - Yes it Exists!

elephant Unmoisturized -lol- Wrinkly ElephantI had an "aha" moment recently, that made me question the very fabric of our being.  Okay, maybe, it wasn't that deep - but it was still important!  And puzzling.  Then I realized there was a conspiracy underfoot - and the wool that was pulled over my eyes started to become so itchy, that I had to find another solution!

Typically, I would refer to myself as fairly organized and prepared.  But, on a recent occasion I was running out of my facial moisturizer.  Hubby, finally realizing the importance of adding this to your daily routine (especially in winter!), has been digging his manly fingers into my jar and (in my humble opinion) has been a little over-zealous in his slathering. At my encouragement and reassurance that moisturizing was not just for girls, he agreed to having his own supply and not deplete my tiny $20-$30 something jar in record time.  (I don't know about you ladies, but I am pretty chintzy with the application of my youth-keeper - I make it last as long as womanly possible!)  So we headed to our local pharmacy - and I showed him in the men's section and pointed out that they made lotions for the most manly of faces!  That was where I saw the conspiracy taking place right in front of us!  Get this - $6.99 for a giant tube of manly facial moisturizer!  Why am I paying 3-4 times more for LESS?! 

He bought it.  I however, starting to itch from that wool I mentioned earlier, did not replenish my stock.  I used up every smear until the jar was clean.  Then, about a week ago, I tried Hubby's new $6.99 stuff, expecting it to be "not as good" as mine.  After a week, I "hrmphed" out loud.  I liked it.  A lot.  So I am converted.  Lucky for him, my routine only includes the tiniest of amounts.  If it weren't for this blog, he would never know I have raided his supply!

So lesson here - men - moisturize!  You can get wrinkles too, and chapped skin!  Ladies - next time you need to restock - check out the men's section.  Your wallet will thank you!

I can't believe it took me that long to realize the blatant conspiracy against women!

Happy slathering,

Kathy Pettit

Monday, 25 February 2013

The Haves, The Have-Nots, and The Have-Somes

Make a difference for a fellow Canadian!
My bad day, when the last of the milk has been spilled by a careless gesture of a 6 year old boy, where I am out of apples to pack on lunches because I forgot to add them to my shopping list the day before, where I jump into the van, frazzled and hurried only to discover it's on empty...I take a deep breath.  I know it will be okay.  I'll buy more milk on the way home from work, I'll send a banana instead of an apple, and I'll rush to the gas station before work and top up the gas in the vehicle I am fortunate to have.  And when I get to the destination - which is a job that I get paid to do (and like!) - I roll up my cushioned chair up to my computer, log in, and start my day.  I start it with a feeling of gratefulness.

I am a Have-Some.  I have what I need - mostly when I need it.  I don't have everything I want - but if I did I wouldn't appreciate it.  I am blessed to not be a Have-Not.  I have solutions to my problems.  I have the ability to change my situation.  But others in my community are not so fortunate.  There are people that go hungry, that weep because their kids go to school hungry, seniors that choose a roof over their heads rather than 3 meals a day. 

At church on Sunday, Father Don stirred emotions in me, that triggered this posting.  He shared a need in our immediate community.  His suggestion - was brilliant on two levels.  The first suggestion was to pass up something in the grocery store that we usually tend to buy because we want to.  A "luxury" item, if you will.  Then we are to put that dollar value into a collection box which will help purchase grocery cards for this particular family.  The second, and frankly most important, point was to not focus on the money we were donating - but rather to experience the "going without" - to feel the sacrifice.  The emotion that this family has to go through on a regular basis, on a miniature scale.  It is fairly easy to drop a few dollars towards a good cause when reminded of the need - but to FEEL the need - now that is another story. 

I encourage you to figure out your "sacrifice" - and make a difference in your community.

I can't believe it but...if we were all Have-Somes, our community would be a better place.

Happy Sacrificing,

Kathy Pettit

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

An Order of Romance...Would You Like Kids With That?!

Valentine's Day is not the same when you have been blessed with children.  The romance is less romantic.  The silence is non-existent.  The chocolate box is swarmed and devoured by the kids.  The intimate dinner - actually - I am not sure this even exists!  I love my kids - don't judge! But I also would love to spend time with Hubby without being interrupted with fun facts about Josh Hutcherson or the ins and outs of fourth grade drama.

So, we weave some attempt at romance when the kids are otherwise occupied. We eat a family friendly meal, listen to the jokes and tribulations of the day, while we sip wine with our macaroni and cheese dinner.  We casually look at our watches and remind the kids that bedtime is coming.  We try hard to drink just enough wine to pretend we are celebrating, and not too much that we fall asleep when the kids do.  We wait patiently for the sandman to lull the hooligans into a deep sleep.  Then we celebrate in the quiet of the night with more wine and each other. 

Maybe this is real romance.  The stuff that builds the foundation of our relationship.  Maybe when our kids have grown, and have left the house, we will find Valentine's Day a little too quiet.  Right now it sounds tempting, but knowing we always want what we don't have - I am sure we will miss it.  And after they start their families, they'll need to dump their kids somewhere so they can celebrate the day smothered in romance - I'll bet the first people they call is Grandma and Grandpa.  So our Valentine's Day will evolve yet again.

Maybe that's what it's about.  Not just the romance, but the deep love we have (most of the time!) for our kids and for the family we created.  That, and of course, the wine.  Because wine makes everything a titsch better...

I can't believe it but...I admitted to drinking wine AND eating macaroni at the same time!

Happy romancing,

Kathy Pettit

Saturday, 9 February 2013

But I Don't Wanna!

Do I have to?  It's not fair!  Why?  I imagine whining those statements, stomping my adult-sized foot and perfecting the grown-up pouty face.  Attempting that behaviour might not be the most attractive thing I could do...barring an incident that I will refer to as "lets-never-speak-of-this-again" (don't ask - I won't tell!)! 
But I can't.  Because apparently (still debatable), I'm an adult.  I am too "mature" to ask questions that get answered with lines like, "Because I said so."  Really, I can't ask because I already know the answers to those questions.  The beautiful thing about children is their innocence.  They can't answer any of their own questions - because they don't KNOW the answers.  It's actually an amazing gift to be blessed with.  That is the reason kids are so happy!  They have no idea what the real world has in store for them. They can change their situation when they stomp their foot.  They can alter a decision made by an exhausted parent with a really cute pouty lip.  They know they can grind away at a "no" with persistence and wear it down to a "maybe", and then, after a little more work can expect an exasperated "yes."  Kids are smart. 
Those moments, when I take off my disguise of the high-heels, the pantyhose, and put down my briefcase...I can be myself again.  A big kid. 

I can't believe it all know my secret - I'm a pretend adult!

Happy childhood memories!
Kathy Pettit

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Nag Nag Nag - Repeat - Or Not?


Children are awesome (most of the time)!  Hubby and I know we are blessed (most of the time)!  Sometimes our kids unwittingly teach US something.  But the trick is remembering to listen.
So our last post shared our intention of a family meeting and introducing a Mission for our family.  For those wondering - it went so well!  Coconut, Peach and Pickle were so receptive and excited about our plan - that we were actually taken aback.  We expected some push back or disinterest in the poster.  But they were EXCITED!  They took turns reading it, and gave examples, without us really asking of HOW they could be better, kinder, and more helpful.  They were especially happy about being able to redirect each other and Hubby and I if we needed reminding of the family rules. 
The other item that was an "aha" moment for us is when we introduced the "Chore Chart."  An hour before our meeting Pickle was nagging me about what chores she was excited to sign up for.  During the meeting, the kids - seriously - were arguing about who gets to do what chore.  They even offered to sign up for more than one daily chore - which boggles my mind!  Normally repetition (a.k.a. nagging) is required to get them to accomplish tasks.  But for some reason - this whole approach has generated interest and commitment in our children.  The big question: WHY?
I think I may know the answer. They felt involved.  I think they saw their own personal value...and they saw how they could use it to benefit the group.  So when they had to choose 1 daily chore each, and 1 weekly chore each - they became part of the TEAM.  Not just on the team - but an integral PART of it.  Shame on us for not letting them see their potential.  Point noted.  Changes made.
So the game play is like this.  Rather than NAG NAG NAG - REPEAT...they can check the chart and get it done. 
I love it.  My kids are pretty great...and sometimes giving them the opportunity to show it builds their esteem.  I have to remember to do that more.  To let them know their input is valuable and appreciated.

I can't believe it little punkins are growing and contributing!

Happy Aha Moments!
Kathy Pettit

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Mission (Im)Possible?

Every now and then I have check the map and make sure we are headed in the right direction.  (Now, I am "mapically" challenged, but you'll get where I'm headed.)  I feel a little bit like we have veered off the intended path and are headed in the wrong direction.

The "slinging sisters" (and by slinging I mean fists and insults) and the "handy" man (and by handy I mean a little too hands on!) are starting to let their emotions get the better of them.  I'm not paid to referee, nor do I find the job very appealing!  So - Hubby and I have come up with Pledge or Mission Statement for our family.

Families are like a small business.  Money is exchanged, goods and services are changed hands, people get tired of their job....and when they get tired they stop caring.  Like all good businesses, having a mission statement, or a plan is vital to its success.  We felt it was time to come up with a Family Mission Statement to strengthen our resolve to be better parents and raise kind, generous individuals who will be engaging contributors to the future.  So, unbeknownst to them, our next family meeting will introduce this concept to them.  We will hang it on every floor in our house.  When we feel the referee whistle come out, we will guide all parties involved over to the poster and get them to read it out loud.  We are hoping that the messages hit home, and they can see beyond their minute grievances and stop the anger.  We will encourage them to use it to redirect Hubby and I, if they feel we are not living up the set out expectations.  (That should be interesting!) 

So Pickle, Peach and Coconut better be prepared for the mission ahead of them.  However, encouraging them to commit everything they do with kindness in mind - cannot be bad.  Wish us luck in this venture - and think about committing to paper your own family mission statement.

I can't believe it but...I am hoping those words make us better, kinder individuals!

Happy Mission Planning,

Kathy Pettit

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Tales of a Tale

Writing can be hard work!  Sometimes the creativity gets sucked out of your very being when you   think too hard.  That's why I tend to avoid thinking really's just easier that way.  Mindless roboting is WAY more creative.

But, when you have a tale to tell you have to think and plan ahead.  I have finally started the second draft of my novel (which, in case you were interested I started several years ago and dropped like a hot potato while juggling diapers, bottles, and otherwise time-occupying tasks!).  I say second draft...but to be perfectly frank, I don't yet have an ending in my first draft - but I do have a hefty portion completed.  You see all the ideas are kind of percolating in my head....dripping through the grinds of my brain...finishing with a fine cup of coffee great ending.  I feel a bit embarrassed that I am admitting, publicly (as only a few know my fanciful dream of publishing a book) this little "secret."  The thing is, it's on my bucket list.  If it goes nowhere - I can still say "I did it, I wrote a book."  If it goes somewhere, I can pretend I am very accomplished, carry around a Sharpie so at any time I can make a fans' day by applying said Sharpie to various body parts of the book.  But it's hard.  I am sure the second draft will be grammatically challenged.  Luckily my hubby is the best editor on the planet (according to moi)!  Before I can apply Sharpie sigs to any book, he'll first take his red pen and tsk-tsk me into grammatically perfect form.

So my fans (sorry, a little carried away with the fame and fortune thing) friends, if you want to contribute - I think it would be kind of neat to allow my readers to come up with an idea or name (it is a fantasy/fiction novel) every now and then.  Please add your suggestions to the "comments" section and I may include them in my novel-to-be - and of course credit you in my long list of people I need to thank in my life! 

I guess I am sharing because I feel like I have now made a commitment, cemented the end result.  Publicly (although, there is a handy-dandy delete post button just in case!).

The very first bit I am looking for suggestions on is:  The name of the boat for the "bad" royalty.  It's fiction/fantasy so let your imagination run wild!

Happy reading!

I can't believe it project is public knowledge.  Gulp! (Sorry that wasn't nerves, it was a swig of wine!)

Kathy Pettit

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Self Conscious Extrovert

Incidentally - NOT me dancing

It is time to freely admit it.  A time to share with everyone the painful truth that exists in my life.  It's not easy, a few gulps of air (and maybe wine) to bare it all.  But I have to lay the burden down.

I can't dance.  

There it is.  Just like that.  The truth.  For those that are kind and give me the benefit of the doubt - please don't.  You're not doing me any favours.  You see, my dance moves (or lack there of) are awkwardly stuck in the 90's.  Nobody really "raises the roof" anymore, or pulls off a killer "running man" - or even a perfect 10 "Cabbage Patch."  Even if they did - does it look good?  Wait!  Don't answer that!  Truth hurts.  The only real dance move I could do with ease was when Kris Kross made me "Jump Jump."  The Humpty Dance posed some challenges, as did BBD, Rob Bass, Young MC...I have to face it - I am Rhythmically Challenged. 

Luckily,  I have a good friend that suffers from the same affliction (or so she says, but she may be one of those fakers that lie to try and make you feel better ;D - kidding BL!), so I am not alone in my inability to move to the rhythm (because rhythm is a dancer, it's a sole companion, you can feel it everywhere...sorry couldn't resist!!)on a dance floor.  So, between the two of us we came up with a money-making venture to help us poor moms hit the dance floor.  Someone should start up a dance group for beginner mom dancers with no skills - and teach us HOW to dance some basic go-to moves that keep us looking current and confident on the dance floor.  I am certain we could find a group of self-conscious moms that would love to never do the "worm" again!  (Kidding, I was never co-ordinated enough to pull that off!)  

So there it is.  Don't think any less of me for my discomfort of all things dance.  Instead, rock out to the 90's with me...or, if it's easier, pretend you don't know me on the dance floor.  I'll understand.

I can't believe it but...the truth is out there.

Happy Grooving,

Kathy Pettit